By ANDREA LANNOM
BECKLEY, W.Va. — President Donald Trump made his first official visit to the Mountain State Monday.
Heavy rain and winds caused a delay with Air Force One landing in Raleigh County Memorial Airport around 6 p.m. Gov. Jim Justice greeted Trump when he stepped down to the tarmac and left with the president to travel to the National Scout Jamboree in Fayette County.
Accompanying Trump were U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and U.S. Health and Human Secretary Tom Price.
The president greeted military personnel and a crowd of supporters before leaving to speak to thousands of Scouts, Venturers, Explorers and volunteers at the Jamboree. Trump is the eighth president to attend a Jamboree.
Storms soaked several supporters who lined up along a fenced-in area on the tarmac to greet the president. Two Putnam County residents, Kathy and Terry Hogue, were among the crowd.
Kathy Hogue said she and her husband, both of Scott Depot, had gone to Cracker Barrel for lunch and ran into Delegate Nancy Foster, R-Putnam, who asked them if they wanted to see Trump that evening.
The Hogues, who said they are ardent Trump supporters, said they were excited about the offer.
“We waited through the time and the rain and everything and it was worth the wait,” she said.
Terry Hogue agreed, saying he felt it was honor.
“It was an honor to shake his hand — a real honor,” Terry Hogue said. “I saw his eyes lock on me and I said, ‘Bless you, Mr. President.'”
The Hogues said they come from conservative backgrounds. Terry Hogue said he supports Trump because he believes he can change the country.
“I have confidence that he’s brave enough to do it,” Terry Hogue said. “We hope to see him make some drastic changes and turn our nation around. We pray for him daily.”
Kathy Hogue said she supports Trump for a similar reason.
“I see that he is trying to return the power to the individual and get the government more out of our lives and I am all for that,” she said.
Several members of the local legislative delegation waited through the rain to greet the president, including Sens. Jeff Mullins, R-Raleigh, and Sue Cline, R-Wyoming and Delegate John O’Neal, R-Raleigh.
“It’s very exciting to be here and to have the President of the United States visit our community,” O’Neal said. “It was worth getting drenched in the downpour and I’m excited he’s here — No. 1 to be in Raleigh County but also to speak to the Boy Scouts. I have two sons at the Boy Scouts event this week. So, I’m thrilled that they are there. I’m thrilled he is there and I’m thrilled this whole thing has taken place in our community.”
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